Fox Expanding U.S. Open Coverage, Utilizing FS1 As Alternate Feed
Fox Sports will use FS1 as an alternate feed during the U.S. Open’s first round on Thursday from Pebble Beach. When Fox starts to carry the tournament on its broadcast channel at 7:30pm ET, FS1 will remain on air and follow two groups -- one with Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Justin Rose that tees off at 5:09pm, and another with Brooks Koepka, Francesco Molinari and Viktor Hovland that tees off at 4:47pm. Fox has used alternate feeds digitally, but this marks the net's first foray into using one of its linear channels as a second feed. Fox Exec Producer/USGA Mark Loomis said, "I was watching other sports and seeing how other people handle big events. There are times when you think you could be competing with yourself. The thought I had over the winter was 'what’s the way to get more peoples’ eyes on the U.S. Open?' I thought this might work." Because of commitments the net has with the FIFA Women’s World Cup and MLB games, Fox is only using FS1 as an alternate channel on Thursday. Ad breaks will be the same across Fox and FS1. Fox will have Justin Kutcher handle play-by-play duties for the FS1 feed with Mark Brooks as analyst, and Michael Breed and Nicole Castrale reporting from the course (John Ourand, SBJ Media).
WEST COAST TECH: GOLFWEEK's Forecaddie noted Fox "plans to push the envelope again" with this year's U.S. Open coverage, as nine holes at Pebble Beach "will be equipped to show us a 'standard ball-trace over live video, with enhanced club and ball data.'" The remaining nine "will have the now-industry standard (thanks to Fox) FlightTrack, with a live trace over a graphic of the golf hole." At the 14th green, instead of a camera remaining set in place and following the shot into the green, new innovations "will allow for Toptracer to show the incoming shot's trajectory while the camera is free to pan, tilt and zoom" (GOLFWEEK.com, 6/6). GOLF DIGEST's Stephen Hennessey noted Fox will have the "most-ever 1080p high-dynamic range cameras in place for a live sports event in the United States, with more than 50 of those HDR cameras around the course." That is in addition to a "live aerial drone that will be launched and operated from a boat along the coastline at Pebble Beach" (GOLFDIGEST.com, 6/6).